Beretta Pico .380 ACP Subcompact Pistol

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The big news at the Beretta booth during the NRA show was the Pico. If you thought the Nano was small, well, the Pico is tiny. It is a double action only hammer fired .380 pistol with a six round magazine, and it was designed to be as thin and snag-free as possible – about .71″ at its widest point.

The Beretta Pico is available with several different frame colors, including white, purple, flat dark earth, and black.

The Beretta Pico is available with several different frame colors, including white, purple, flat dark earth, and black.

That’s great for pocket carry, but it does come at a price – the magazine release, which must be pulled down from both sides of the trigger guard, is almost impossible to use with a firing grip on the weapon. The slide stop simply cannot be used as a slide release with a firing grip. The magazine must be removed before the slide can be dropped. This is similar to some of the Kahr pocket pistols, but I think it’s taken even farther with the Pico.

I asked a Beretta rep about this, as I saw the difficulty in manipulating the controls to be a problem, not a benefit. He confirmed my observations, but said that with practice the magazine could be released with the firing hand only, and that the design lended itself well to pocket carry.

This was noticeably easier with the larger of the two magazine releases on the display pistols – one stuck out just a little more side-to-side than the other. Beretta is apparently still trying to decide which magazine release to use on the production firearms. Whether either mag release would be easy to use under stress is highly questionable. I asked why a heel magazine release wasn’t considered, as it might be easier to manipulate while still maintaining a thin profile, but the rep didn’t know.

There are two magazines included with the pistol – both hold six rounds, while one has a flush baseplate and the other has an extended pinky grip. At this time it looks like all of the extended grips are in black, which looks a bit odd on a white pistol with a stainless steel slide.

I liked the multiple available colors, especially the white. Apparently these grip portions can be swapped without changing the serial number of the pistol, but beyond matching a pistol to an outfit, I don’t really see why anyone would bother with that particular feature. On that note, who wants a flat dark earth pistol with a stainless slide? Someone must want that combination, or Beretta wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of manufacturing it.

The Pico is probably great for people with small hands.

The Pico is probably great for people with small hands.

Although I couldn’t compare it side by side with other pistols in its class, I felt that the Pico’s trigger was uncomfortably close to the backstrap. I normally wear large or extra large gloves, so perhaps those with smaller hands will find its dimensions in this regard to be ideal.

At $399 with standard sights, the Pico is pretty reasonably priced. I should mention that the sights were quite excellent for a subcompact pistol, if somewhat incongruous with the idea of making the pistol as snag-free as possible. There were also Trijicon night sights available, although the rep I spoke to didn’t know how much extra they’d be.

I don’t know that the Pico will make much of a dent in the crowded .380 pocket pistol market. Nor do I think that it’s anything I’ll look at buying any time soon, due to the difficulty I had in manipulating the controls. But I do applaud Beretta for putting some effort into making the Pico different than the competition.

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Andrew Tuohy

Andrew Tuohy was a Navy Corpsman with the 5th Marine Regiment. He makes a living by producing written and visual content within the firearm industry, and he also teaches carbine courses. He prefers elegant weapons for a more civilized age, and regularly posts at Vuurwapen Blog.


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  • floppyscience

    Well that’s a damn thin pistol…thinner than my LCP by a good deal. At $399 I’ll definitely look into it when it hits the shelves.

    And I rather the like the stainless slide on the white frame. It reminds me of the old S&W 3913 LS.

    • floppyscience

      Huh, I just noticed the mag release (that’s what I get before commenting before I read the article). It does seem like a whacky design. I agree that a heel release may have worked better on this pistol, or even an HK-style trigger guard release.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      The old 3913 was a great little pistol and it still is. This pistol may turn out to be popular with the ladies that have very small hands.

      • floppyscience

        It was a great pistol indeed…probably one of the best carry guns of its time.

  • Marcus D.

    So what’s the trigger pull?

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      That’s a bit tough when you’re looking at them during a show. You have to guess and that’s just something we don’t want to do. We’ll find out pretty soon I’m sure.

      • floppyscience

        Nobody brings a trigger gauge to these things? :D

        • Andrew Tuohy

          I generally avoid discussing the weight of triggers at trade shows because they’ve been dry fired thousands of times by the time you get to try them, and the pistols themselves also might have been selected because they had a lighter/better pull than other pistols of the same model.

          • Anonymous

            Also, because frequently show models are actually pre-production prototypes, and lack internal components for safety compliance on the show floor (no firing pin, etc).

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          Nope I never have for the reasons Andrew stated. Andrew can tell you about it being a DAO or a half-cock type.
          I haven’t had the opportunity yet.

      • Woodroez

        Well, here’s one that you might be able to answer that I haven’t seen anything yet one way or another: Is it a true DAO or one of those that half-cocks itself like the Kel-Tec pistols/LCP?

  • Skeptic

    I find a Ruger LCP difficult to manipulate, if this is smaller, well, I’m looking seriously at a PX-4 Compact which is about as small as I want to go in a 9mm. The .380 Ruger on the 9mm frame seems a better idea. Geoff Who likes to hit his target.

  • mig1nc

    They should have looked a the Walther PPS for inspiration of a good mag release that doesn’t affect width and is snag free. Like the P99/PPQ(gen1) and the HK USP and newer HK guns, it is mounted on the trigger guard but is easily manipulated with one hand. I would say though, I am definitely interested in this.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      I own a PPS and really do like the release. It doesn’t take long to get used to. That would certainly be a better choice for this pistol. Of course the Walther design may be under patent protection.

    • Skeptic

      The magazine release on my Walther P-22 works just fine, but Walther has dropped it for the latest of it’s service pistols, and gone to a button. Sorry makes little sense to me. Geoff Who likes the P-22 form factor, but not the reliability.

  • MOG

    Quit reading after first paragraph under photos. No way I would buy or carry a pistol like this. At any price.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      It’s not for everyone especially if you have fairly large hands.

  • J in Ga

    The slide release doesn’t bother me. If I carry a tiny 380, it’s because my clothes don’t allow for anything else including another magazine.

    • come on now

      if your clothes don’t allow the carry of an extra pico magazine, you must have spray painted them on

  • Tommy salami

    Haters gonna hate. Obviously this is looking to be miles better than the old LCP. I will def buy one. In black tho.

    • http://twitter.com/dcviper985 David Corey

      How do you figure it’ll be better than an LCP? It’s slightly thinner, but with even worse ergonomics.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Bradycampaignsuck Nelly Renard

        It looks like it will be better…only thing that has yet to be seen is the reliability.things that it has that stomp all over the lcp is that it comes with the lcp are : it comes with 2 mags for the same price, slide locks on the last shot, has real sights, caliber versatility, and the trigger we will have to see.but the lcp couldve been better IMO.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Bradycampaignsuck Nelly Renard

      True.I want this gun.it will be better thanks the lcp and I like the lcp.but it has some things that I just couldnt get with.

    • chucky

      Has anyone ever seen a pico, except in print

  • JKP

    “The slide stop simply cannot be used as a slide release with a firing grip.”

    It’s not supposed to be used as a slide release. It’s a slide stop. Rack the slide if you want to chamber a round.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Always–I never use a slide stop. Racking the slide is much more reliable.

  • http://twitter.com/dcviper985 David Corey

    If I wanted a pocket pistol with poor ergonomics, I’d buy an LCP. Oh, wait…

  • Anonymous

    Eh, I don’t get why people care so much about the magazine release and slide stop. It’s a pocket gun, designed purely for close-range immediate events. If you’re planning on training to conduct speed reloads and run an IPSC shoot with this, you need to be smacked upside the head. Shoot until empty, throw pistol at threat, transition to something else or GTFO. It’s a last-ditch defensive peashooter, not an entry weapon.

    • Andrew Tuohy

      Being able to remove the magazine can be critical to clearing certain types of malfunctions, some of which are more prevalent in smaller pistols.

  • Felix

    Looks more like a TCP ripoff than an LCP ripoff, stylingwise. Which I suppose turnabout is fair play. And while no one is going to be doing an IPSC shoot with a 380 pocket pistol as Anonymous mentioned, I don’t think that excuses controls that are hard to manipulate. If you hate the gun at the range, you’ll hate the gun. A mag release and slide release should work. (And yes, on many pistols, that is a “slide release” not just a “slide catch.” That’s why the tab faces the way it does…to be pressed down).

  • Duray

    Yet another “Kel-tec for people who don’t like Kel-tec.” Also, that looks like a very high bore axis.

    • bore axis

      the nano has a crazy high bore axis also; which we know is counter-intuitive… yet the nano shoots quite smooth

      • Rick

        I carry the Nano all the time. By far the best carry gun have ever owned.

  • Nate

    Does anyone know if it features a rotating barrel?

    • Shiftac3

      from pics, you can tell it does not have a rotating barrel :(

  • Christine

    I’d look into this one if it weren’t for the difficulties with the magazine release. Perhaps Beretta will iron them out before release. I’ve yet to find a pistol larger than a .22 that I can actually hold properly. All others, I have to slightly roll my wrist to fire.

  • Ryan

    This looks like it will be marketed towards woman. I can see the white/stainless appealing to woman a lot more than pink. Like my wife said, “Pink? What am I, 12? Now if it matched my dress, or at least my purse.” White is nice and modern and goes with anything. I think it’s been pointed out. If a woman pulls a gun she most likely isn’t planning on establishing a beach head, more like “just send enough motivation down range so I can run away.” This means the mag change isn’t as big of a deal and it is better if it can’t accidentally release while rattling around in a purse. Neat gun. Heck I want one too.

  • kdawg

    The Pico may very well be my next carry pistol. I carry a Ruger LCP today mainly due to its size, knowing that it has its fair share of limitations. As a left-handed shooter I have actuated the mag release by accident on the LCP. Although I’d have to handle the Pico, I like that Beretta is at least keeping ambidextrous features in mind. I like the last round hold open on the Pico — the LCP does not do this. While some may argue that the sights on the Pico are a snag point, I’d much rather worry about snagging on my draw, than worrying about not being able to effectively line up my target. Night sights on the Pico would give me much more peace of mind than the totally lackluster sights on the LCP.

  • ManongBloggerDotCom

    nice colors. looks good on the hands of my wife… i think

  • http://twitter.com/Sharpie308 David Sharpe

    The mag release is unusual to me, IMHO they should have gone with a heel release.

  • Gecasa44

    Today was he first day that you could buy the Pico’s Accessories on BerettaUsa.com, i wonder if that means it will be released in the near future

  • Rick

    This looks perfect for my wife. She has small hands. I just wonder if the slide is hard to pull back.